Home » News » Paco


Paco de Lucía [Francisco Sánchez Gomes]. Spanish Guitarist and composer (Algeciras, Spain, 21.12.1947 – Cancun, Mexico, 26.02.2014).  From an early age became a virtuoso flamenco guitarist who later revolutionized the genre and became one of the most influential figures in the genre of world music. His contributions to flamenco and his innovative approach to the guitar left an indelible mark on the history of the instrument.

Paco de Lucía

Paco de Lucía was born into a family deeply rooted in the flamenco tradition. His father, Antonio Sánchez Pecino (Algeciras, Spain, 1908-1994), was a day laborer and a guitarist, who taught young Paco and his brothers, guitarist Ramón de Algeciras (Ramón Sánchez Gomes, 05.02.1938 – 20.01.2009) and singer Pepe de Lucía (José Sánchez Gomes, Algeciras, Spain, 25.09.1945).  Both brothers, Paco and Pepe, took the artistic name “de Lucía” to honor their Portuguese mother Luzia Gomes Gonçalves.

At the age of seven, Paco received his first guitar, a gift from his father. His early years were marked by an insatiable curiosity and an innate talent for the instrument. He began his formal training with his father and brother, Pepe de Lucía, both accomplished guitarists. Paco’s dedication and prodigious skills quickly set him apart, and by the age of twelve, he made his professional debut at the Tablao Villarrosa in Madrid.

In his teenage years, Paco de Lucía caught the attention of flamenco aficionados and musicians alike. His distinctive style was characterized by incredible speed, precision, and a deep emotional resonance. He seamlessly blended traditional flamenco techniques with elements of jazz, classical, and world music, pushing the boundaries of what was thought possible on the guitar.  He is credited as being one of the creators of Nuevo flamenco, a blend of traditional flamenco and urban popular music.

In 1967, Paco released his first solo album, La Fabulosa Guitarra de Paco de Lucía, which showcased his unparalleled technical prowess and innovative approach. The album marked the beginning of a solo career that would span over five decades, during which he would release numerous critically acclaimed records, each contributing to the evolution of flamenco.

Camaron de la Isla

One of Paco’s most significant collaborations was with legendary flamenco singer Camarón de la Isla (José Monje Cruz, 1950-1992). The partnership began in the late 1960s and produced a series of groundbreaking albums that brought flamenco to a broader audience. Their 1971 album, Camarón de la Isla con la colaboración especial de Paco de Lucía, was a landmark recording that redefined the genre. Paco’s intricate guitar work provided a perfect complement to Camarón’s passionate vocals, creating a fusion that resonated across cultural and musical boundaries.

Paco de Lucía has been the subject of many books and articles, both scholarly (see bibliography) as well as journalistic.  His innovations have made an indelible mark both through his recordings as well as his live concerts. His live performances, for instance, were legendary. His concerts were mesmerizing displays of technical brilliance and emotional depth, captivating audiences around the globe. Whether performing in intimate settings or large concert halls, Paco had an uncanny ability to connect with his listeners on a profound level. His influence extended beyond the flamenco community, earning him recognition from the broader music world. He collaborated with artists from various genres, including jazz pianist Chick Corea, guitarists John McLaughlin and Al Di Meola, Larry Coryell, and classical guitarist John Williams.

Tragically, on February 25, 2014, Paco de Lucía passed away at the age of 66 while on vacation with his family in Mexico. His sudden death sent shockwaves through the music world, and tributes poured in from artists and fans worldwide. Paco de Lucía’s legacy, however, lives on. His contributions to flamenco and the guitar continue to inspire generations of musicians, and his recordings serve as a testament to the enduring power of his artistry.

Throughout his career, Paco de Lucía received numerous awards and honors, including the prestigious National Prize for Flamenco Guitar. He received two honorary doctorates from Berklee College of Music and Universidad de Cádiz, respectively.  He was also honored with the prize Príncipe de Asturias, arguably the highest award in Spain for the arts and science.  In recognition of his extraordinary contributions to music, Paco de Lucía received many posthumous honors, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Latin Grammy Awards. The Paco de Lucía Project, led by his son, guitarist Antonio Sánchez, strives to preserve and promote the legacy of this flamenco icon, ensuring that future generations will continue to be inspired by the genius of Paco de Lucía.

[Selected Discography]

Studio albums

La fabulosa guitarra de Paco de Lucía (1967)

Fantasía flamenca de Paco de Lucía (1969)

El mundo del flamenco (1971)

Recital de guitarra (1971)

El duende flamenco de Paco de Lucía (1972)

Fuente y caudal (1973)

Almoraima (1976)

Paco de Lucía interpreta a Manuel de Falla (1978)

Sólo quiero caminar (1981)

Siroco (1987)

Zyryab (1990)

Concierto de Aranjuez (1991)

Luzia (1998)

Cositas buenas (2004)

Canción andaluza (2014)

Collaborative albums           

Dos guitarras flamencas (1964)

12 canciones de García Lorca para guitarra (1965)

12 éxitos para 2 guitarras flamencas (1965)

Canciones andaluzas para 2 guitarras (1967)

Dos guitarras flamencas en América Latina (1967)

12 Hits para 2 guitarras flamencas y orquesta de cuerda (1969)

En Hispanoamérica (1969)

Al verte las flores lloran (1969)

Cada vez que nos miramos (1970)

Son tus ojos dos estrellas (1971)

Castillo de Arena (1977)

Castro Marín (1981)

Calle Real (1983)

Passion, Grace and Fire (1983)

The Guitar Trio (1996)

Live albums   

En vivo desde el Teatro Real (1975)

Friday Night in San Francisco (1981)

Live… One Summer Night (1984)

Live in América (1993)

Compilation albums 

Entre dos aguas (1975)

Integral (2003)

Por descubrir (2003)

[Selected Scholarly Bibliography]

Pohren, Donn E. Paco de Lucía And Family: The Master Plan. Westport, CT: Bold Strummer, 1992.

Sevilla, Paco. Paco de Lucía: A New Tradition for The Flamenco Guitar. San Diego, CA: Sevilla Press, 1995.

Voss, Hans-Christian. “Die Hauptstilmittel der Flamenco-Gitarrenmusik unter besonderer Berücksichtigung von Spieltechnik und Bewegungskoordination.” PhD, Universität Hamburg, 1999.

Pérez Custdodio, Diana.  La evolución del flamenco a través de sus rumbas. Cadiz: Universidad, Servicio de Publicaciones / Diputación, 2005.

Banzi, Julia Lynn. “Flamenco guitar innovation and the circumscription of tradition.” PhD, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2007.

Téllez Rubio, Juan José. “Más allá de Paco de Lucía: Una aproximación a la tradición del flamenco en el Campo de Gibraltar.” Música oral del sur: Revista internacional, 8 (2009) 55-83.

Carrasco García, Alicia. “Guitare flamenca: Analyse biomécanique du picado.” Médecine des arts: Approche médicale et scientifique des pratiques artistiques, 72 (2012) 13-25.

Zagalaz, Juan. “The Jazz-Flamenco Connection: Chick Corea And Paco de Lucía between 1976 And 1982.” Journal of Jazz Studies, 8/1 (2012) 33-54.

Castro Buendía, Guillermo. “Paco de Lucía y su importancia histórica.” Sinfonía virtual: Revista de música clásica y reflexión musical, 26 (2014).  http://www.sinfoniavirtual.com/revista/026/paco_lucia_homenaje.pdf

San Nicasio Ramos, Pablo. Contra las cuerdas: Maestros de la guitarra flamenca en la intimidad de la entrevista. II.  Madrid: Óscar Herrero Ediciones, 2014.

Torres Cortés, Norberto.  “Claves para una lectura musical de la obra de Paco de Lucía.” Revista de investigación sobre flamenco “La madrugá,” 11 (2014) 1- 61.

Téllez Rubio, Juan José. Paco de Lucía: Retrato de familia con guitarra. Sevilla: Qüásyeditorial, 1994.

Téllez Rubio, Juan José. Paco de Lucía: El hijo de la portuguesa. Barcelona: Planeta, 2015.

Zagalaz, Juan. “Los orígenes de la relación jazz–flamenco: De Lionel Hampton a Pedro Iturralde (1956–1968).” Revista de investigación sobre flamenco “La madrugá,” 13 (2016) 93-124.

Martínez Casañ, David. “Desde el estudio de la taranta, cantiña y bulería de Camarón de la Isla hasta su reinterpretación como propuesta práctica.” PhD, Universitat Politècnica de València, 2017.

Zagalaz, Juan.  “El trazado melódico en las bulerías grabadas por Camarón de la Isla junto a Paco de Lucía (1969–1977).” Revista de musicología, 40/2 (2017) 565-592.

Rico Rodríguez, José Antonio. “La evolución armónica de la guitarra flamenca: Análisis de la obra de Paco de Lucía desde 1960 a 1990.” Sinfonía virtual: Revista de música clásica y reflexión musical, 34 (2018). http://www.sinfoniavirtual.com/revista/034/pacodelucia.pdf

Bethencourt Llobet, Francisco Javier [Paco] and Eduardo Murillo Saborido. “El legado de Paco de Lucía: La transmisión del conocimiento en la guitarra flamenca contemporánea.” Roseta: Revista de la Sociedad Española de la Guitarra, 14 (2019) 82-103.

Moreno Cruz, Miguel Ángel. “Integración y papel de la flauta travesera en la música flamenca.” Sinfonía virtual: Revista de música clásica y reflexión musical, 37 (2019). http://www.sinfoniavirtual.com/revista/037/travesera.pdf

Zagalaz, Juan. “La relación jazz-flamenco: Una visión panorámica a través de su historia (1932–90).” Revista portuguesa de musicologia (Jazz in Iberia), VI/2 (2019) 393-420.

Bethencourt Llobet, Francisco Javier [Paco] and Daniel Gómez Sánchez. ”Intercambios (trans)atlánticos: Aportación de las nuevas generaciones de músicos cubano-españoles en la escena de jazz-flamenco como puente con América.” Cuadernos de etnomusicología, 16/2 (2021) 108-129.

Leiva, David. “40 aniversario de Sólo quiero caminar de Paco de Lucía: Análisis y transcripción.” Sinfonía virtual: Revista de música clásica y reflexión musical, 41 (Verano, 2021). http://www.sinfoniavirtual.com/revista/041/paco_lucia.pdf

Escacena, Manuel Alonso.  Paco de Lucía: El Primer Flamenco Ilustrado. Córdoba: Almuzara, 2023.

Suárez, César.  El enigma Paco de Lucía.  Barcelona: Lumen, 2024


Paco de Lucia—light and shade: A portrait

Dir: Michael Meert

Westdeutscher Rundfunk Köln, RTVE, 1994

Francisco Sánchez: Paco de Lucia

Dir: Daniel Hernández and Jesús de Diego

RTVE, 2003

Paco de Lucia: La Búsqueda [Paco de Lucía: A Journey]

Dir: Curro Sánchez Varela

Zigurat Films, 2014